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About qeta

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    2018 Fall
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  1. I visited three East Coast schools when the weather was on the verge of a blizzard. During the Brown visit, there was an actual blizzard that stranded all of us for a couple of days. I wore comfortable but stylish clothes, nice winter boots with good treads, and coordinating watches. There is a huuuuuge amount of walking involved during school visits, so paying attention to footwear is a must. Watches were good for keeping track of time while running to make meetings all the time in unfamiliar campuses. I wore a lot of cozy sweaters with woolen skirts (with elastic waists, lol), sometimes long-sleeved dresses, and tights. You will basically be wearing the same clothes from morning to night, so comfort and maybe an amount of unfussiness are good characteristics for your clothes to have. Also packed a lint roller and travel steamer, both of which were very handy. It's super-stressful to make the decision, but please try to enjoy the visits! You will be treated like royalty and seriously wooed by faculty, administrators, and graduate students. If you have been admitted, they really want you there and think very highly of your potential to become a sociologist. Also as I told myself prior to the visits, it was likely the only time in academia when I would have so many offers to choose from, so I'd better enjoy myself!
  2. The university is formally closed today, but it might be worth calling the department early tomorrow morning.
  3. I'm not sure if you've heard something from them by now. The admit list was sent out to everyone in the department this morning.
  4. Congrats to all the Brown admits! If you have any questions about the department or want to meet for a chat during the visit, let me know.
  5. There are many different ways of doing comparative historical work and the methods also generally correlate with epistemologies, not just topics. My understanding of comp-hist work in sociology break down like the following. The Skocpolians like to use a Millian, "scientific" method. For that type of variable-based comp-hist work, I'd say Northwestern is a good place because of James Mahoney. You could check other people who are associated with Mahoney and where they are placed. A lot of them might be faculty in political science. UC Berkeley and Wisconsin comp-hist people are generally Marxist, perhaps with the exception of Mustafa Emirbrayer who uses relational historical analysis (think Margaret Somers). Even within the Marxists there are epistemological differences: I'd argue Tugal/ Riley and Burawoy at Berkeley are somewhat different beasts. Michigan is an interesting place for comp-hist research and has a long history of hiring and producing comp-hist people, I think perhaps because of Charles Tilly. It has generally made room for comp-hist people of all stripes and managed to house Tilly, Somers, and Jeffrey Paige (who wrote the brilliant structural/ Marxist tome Agrarian Revolution) at the same time after Paige was denied tenure at Berkeley. You could argue that folks using a postcolonial lens (Julian Go at Boston U, George Steinmetz at UMich) employ yet another method of doing comp-hist work.
  6. @talani_ai I echo others' comments here: your work experience is not going to be a hindrance. Many people take gap years and do unrelated work to pay the bills. Because it's a non-issue, I wouldn't draw attention to the gap in the SOP unless it connects to your proposed doctoral work somehow. Good luck! It's hard to apply to grad school as an international student and especially if you don't know any fellow applicants. Feel free to ask me more questions here or via pm.
  7. @jriveracal I'd vote for the ethnographic paper because it contains original data. Adding a lit review sounds like a good idea too. It would pad out the paper and make it stronger by allowing you to situate your study in relation to existing theories on the topic.
  8. I have some friends in McGill soc. and the funding is poor for all students there, period. Montreal is a cheap and fun city to live in, however. Toronto soc. is well-funded and has a large department. York soc. is quite a good department, but does struggle to fund international students and has the least global portability in terms of job prospects afterwards. If you do decide to apply to Toronto or York, you could look into Ontario Trillium Fellowship for International Students and ask the departments if they would be willing to nominate you. The application process in Canada can be viewed as more of a negotiation than the US ones, in my experience. UMass Boston has a good applied sociology program. My friend got his MA there and that work landed him in UCB soc. And you can't beat Boston in terms of location because there are so many excellent schools in the surrounding area and they have so many South Asianists.
  9. @Andromeda3921 As a fellow international student, I have to say that public universities have a lot of trouble paying for international students. Berkeley especially struggles in this regard. My Berkeley soc. advisor told me from the beginning to apply to a mix of public and private schools for this reason. Another option is to win doctoral fellowships and emphasize it in your SOP, and then the university doesn't have to worry about paying for you. The low grad GPA (I'm a fellow sufferer in this respect) thing would be a red flag, so please contextualize it. In my SOP, I explicitly mentioned that McGill is famous for not inflating grades and cited Canada's Social Science and Humanities Research Council GPA cutoffs as proof. I also mentioned that I went from an uber-leftist undergrad school to the liberal-conservative mecca of McGill for grad school and it was a systems shock. At least one professor remembered this during my visit and we had a fantastic chat about these schools' different cultures. I called McGill "staid" in my SOP and didn't mention that I was harrassed by the professor who sank my grad GPA. So be strategic about how candid you want to be, but definitely definitely provide reasons for low grad GPA. I also think Brown should perhaps be higher on your list because it and surrounding schools are hard to beat in terms of the number of South Asianists. Brown also has a dedicated institute on spatiality called Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4), which was begun and is run by the soc. department. Patrick Heller considers himself a comparativist and told me that Brown soc. has a long tradition of housing comparativists, so you have an advantage there. Cornell Development Sociology, though a niche program, could be a good fit. I can answer some questions about both departments, if you'd like. Stanford is quite quant-heavy and it's hard-but-not-impossible to survive as a qual person there according to one of my profs. We have a lot of the same interests (spatiality, qual methodology, comparative sociology, sociology of development, and South Asia namely). So feel free to ask specific questions related to those things or more general questions here or through PM.
  10. @jriveracal Speaking from personal experience, good letters from Berkeley soc. profs and extensive research experience go a long way. These are the things people asked me about when I went to campuses on admitted student visit days: they asked how my Berkeley recommender was doing and mentioned what a glowing letter she wrote for me; they also inquired about my various research projects. I think if you bring up your GRE scores a bit more (in the mid-to-late 150s) and craft kick-ass writing samples (sometime you have the option to upload two), your chances would be excellent at any school. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have here or over PM. I could also try to answer questions about Brown if anyone is interested, but at this point I have only spent a couple of days there when the faculty was putting on a good face. Edited to add that you should always opt for recommendation letters from professors or PhD-holding researchers who are employed at think tanks or institutes/ departments within universities, instead of TAs or GSIs who are graduate students.
  11. My research interests revolve around the co-formation and co-articulation of class, caste, ethnicity, and race over time and space in South Asia. I do a lot of thinking along the same lines in terms of North America and immigration/ racialization/ class formation as well and just started an additional project on the South Asian diaspora in North America (exciting, as well as terrifying even with a co-author!!). What do you work on? I've never met a deadline I couldn't find a way to disregard, so I wish you were right about that aspect! But readers of my thesis and other writings generally comment that I'm a rigorous and careful scholar. My search for rigor often drives me nuts, so I get lost too - just in empirical details and the nitty-gritty of research design. You are also right about the praxis part: the real-world implications of my projects are generally the first to pop into my mind and sometimes I work backwards from policy implications to establishing puzzle too. But I really wish you were right about the deadlines, lol.
  12. Fit was not really a consideration for me, as I only applied to schools with very good fit. In the end, I chose the place with the best funding, placement record, and professionally collegial (non-cliquey) atmosphere.
  13. I wouldn't go to a department whose culture I don't like. Having a supportive cohort was extremely important to me, and I cut out many departments from my list because they encouraged competition between peers more than collaboration. Some people thrive in competition, but I find it stressful and unpleasant.
  14. I think April 15 is generally the last day to accept offers at all schools.
  15. I've been in your position before insofar as I was in a political science MA program and wanted to move into sociology for doctoral studies. I also recommend that you finish your current program and show your interest in and aptitude for sociology in other ways. My thesis cited a lot of sociologists and was built around a number of sociological theories. I also took 2 sociology classes, presented at sociology conferences, worked with sociologists on research projects, and got recommendation letters from sociologists. The recommendation letters were very important because people mentioned the sociologists who wrote them during my post-acceptance school visits. They also liked my writing samples and clearly thought of them as sociological works. Dropping out of programs could be a red flag for some people on adcomms, and so sticking with your current program while adjusting your research agenda towards sociology in some obvious ways may be a way forward.
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